Every UI platform needs a killer concept. For the keyboard and mouse it was the Excel sheet. If you ever watch the rebooted Hawaii Five-0, you’ll realize that for Touch it’s the flick. Flicking is more satisfying than tapping on sooo many levels. Birds do it, bees do it, even monkeys in the trees do it.
Gestural interfaces haven’t found that killer concept yet, but it may just be the ability to zoom in on an image. Like flicking and entering tabular data, killer concepts don’t necessarily have to be clever. They just have to feel right.
Consider what John Anderton spent his time doing in 2002’s Minority Report. For the most part, he used innovative fantasy technology (later made real at Oblong Industries) to enhance images on his rather large screen.
Go back even further and you’ll recall Rick Deckard used speech recognition to enhance an image in 1982’s Blade Runner. This may be the first inkling any of us had of the true purpose of NUI.
It obviously left an impression on the zeitgeist because every movie or TV show attempting to demonstrate technological sophistication on the cheap (CSI being the biggest culprit) managed to insert an “enhance” scene into their franchise somewhere.
And if you happened to have a movie with no budget, there was no reason you should let this stop you.
And while we’re getting nonstalgic for NUI, let’s not forget to give credit where credit is due. Before Leap Motion, before Microsoft’s Kinect, before Oblong’s g-speak, even before Minority Report, there was the NES Power Glove:
And in the decades after, all we’ve managed to do is to enhance that killer concept.